A tormentor from Eminem ‘s past has failed to bully a Michigan appeals court into reinstating a lawsuit against the rapper.
DeAngelo Bailey, who attended elementary school with Em in Detroit back in the day, claims the rapper’s 1999 tune “Brain Damage,” which name checks Bailey as a schoolyard terrorizer, trashed his reputation by portraying him in a false light. Bailey, now a sanitation worker, contends the worst he did was “bump” the then wimpy Marshall Mathers III and give him a “little shove.”
But a Michigan state appeals court ruled Friday that the track, which appears on Eminem’s breakthrough The Slim Shady LP, has such an exaggerated depiction of Bailey’s bullying behavior that it cannot be taken seriously.
“I was harassed daily by this fat kid named DeAngelo Bailey/An eighth-grader who acted obnoxious, cause his father boxes/So every day he’d shove me into the lockers,” Eminem rhymes in “Brain Damage.”
“And he had me in the position to beat me into submission/He banged my head against the urinal until he broke my nose/Soaked my clothes in blood, grabbed me and choked my throat,” he continues.
In their unanimous opinion, the three-judge panel appeared to be well versed with Eminem’s oeuvre, specifically citing a passage in which the rapper claims Bailey’s handiwork made his “whole brain fell out.”
“It is apparent that a reasonable listener would not take the song lyrics about the defendant literally,” the justices opined.
Bailey’s legal rep, Byron Nolen, told the Associated Press he was not surprised with the ruling and wasn’t planning on appealing the case to a higher court.
“I don’t think [the justices] would even look at it to be honest with you,” he said.
There was no immediate comment from Eminem’s camp.
Bailey first filed suit in 2001, seeking $1 million for the damage “Brain Damage” purportedly did to his good name. In August 2003, Eminem appeared before the Macomb County Circuit Court asking Judge Deborah Servitto to toss the lawsuit.
Two months later, Servitto agreed with Eminem-she even caught the rapping bug when writing her decision.
In a 10-stanza rhyme appended to her decision, she wrote in part, “It is therefore this Court’s ultimate position, that Eminem is entitled to summary disposition.”